As interns, students might not expect to handle sensitive topics or get to know higher-ups in their companies. However, some Lehigh students spent their summers engaging with people, problems and places they might not have anticipated when filling out their applications.
Everett McCormick, ’19, spent the summer working in Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office assisting with immigration cases. she first became interested in working with immigrants after studying abroad in Jordan on a program focusing on the refugee crisis.
McCormick said she enjoyed her internship because she wants a career in a space where she can directly help vulnerable individuals.
She worked with an immigration caseworker and said it was an emotionally draining job because people discussed personal issues concerning their immigration statuses.
The most memorable part of her internship was during the height of the family separation crisis when almost all of calls to the senator’s office were about separated families. McCormick said it was such a relief when families were reunited.
“The more I see it, the more I realize it’s a critical issue to work on,” McCormick said.
On the other side of the country, Diana Nicholas, ’19, secured her summer internship in San Francisco at cyber security and data startup vArmour after meeting the company’s CEO, Timothy Eades, during the Lehigh Silicon Valley program last winter.
“I was building data sheets for the company, explaining their solution and reestablishing their social media accounts,” Nicholas said.
Nicholas used her skills as a marketing major to help brand the startup. She said she preferred vArmour’s open work-space rather than traditional offices because it allowed for more effective collaboration.
Because there were only two other people on the marketing team, Nicholas said she could easily share her ideas. She believes this helped her expand her skills in ways she would not have been able to had she worked at a more established company.
“I was an intern and sat next to Tim, the CEO,” Nicholas said. “He was helpful as a mentor and would answer any question I had about marketing or cyber security. I could just turn to him if I needed anything.”
She said she also made numerous connections in her summer home in Silicon Valley where she lived with 24 other people. She said she is thankful for the experience she had there.
Nicholas continues to work for vArmour remotely as a social media manger, posting daily on platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter.
Hannah Yahraus, ’19, spent her summer interning in Lithuania at Transparency International, an anti-corruption corporation. The organization operates in 100 countries and hopes to stop the abuse of power.
Yahraus is a science, technology and society major with a global studies minor. As part of the Iacocca International Internship program, she worked with seven other interns on proofreading publications and transcribing interviews before they went on the organization’s website.
Yahraus also conducted research of her own. She read scholarly sources that examined how government-owned media affects the public’s perception on candidates and issues.
“At first I was a little scared since I didn’t know anyone,” Yahraus said. “It was a really good growing experience being able to go out and explore on my own.”
Editor’s note: A quotation was removed from this article because inaccurately portrayed the source’s meaning.